Mike Keer shares a real-life product reliability story with Fred Schenkelberg, an international authority on reliability engineering.

Transcript of the Video

Fred Schenkelberg: We named this webinar, “Avoid the Warranty Trap” and I’ll mention that briefly as we get ready to wrap this up. Do you run into many people who talk about reliability as a warranty issue? At the start you talked about the fear of something going wrong and having to do a recall or losing customers. Are you seeing warranty and reliability synonymous?

Mike Keer: It goes back to the level of experience of the clients. Clients who have shipped hardware, and have seen products returned and understand that it is the liability of warranty issues as well as the brand hit, are attuned to making sure that those products are not going to fail in the field.

I recently had a client that was a very strong in software, but had not done a lot of hardware. They went to CES and found an ODM in China to kind of leverage for their first product. Lo and behold, when they shipped it – they did get many failures in the field. Unfortunately, it has hit them on their Amazon Reviews. They now understand the importance of making sure that their product is going to be reliable and not fail in the field.

That real life example shows that if you don’t understand these issues and you take the risk, there is real risk that is going to come back and hurt you.

Fred Schenkelberg: It all depends on the phrasing of those contracts. If you say “Can you build this or can you design and build this for us and we want it by Tuesday and we only want to pay 38 cents,” They are going to design and build something to meet those targets, giving up things you didn’t specify. Right? They can make that happen. It goes back to, “You get what you pay for”. But actually it’s more that you get what you design, what you specify, and what you expect and also set the time and budget to make happen.

Mike Keer: It really does help to have experts in supply chain that can go vet. They didn’t do a lot of vetting on that particular vendor and we actually helped them make a shift because of below the capabilities of that ODM and their quality processes, they were not at the higher end of the quality spectrum. That will result in problems in reliability of the manufacturing process and the quality of the materials going into the product.

Watch the full “Get Reliability Right From the Start” webinar with Fred Schenkelberg and Mike Keer: